Friday, February 23, 2007

Networking with FOCUS - The Bottom Line

Networking with FOCUS


In my last FOCUS blog, I asked the question ‘why did you join the Chamber?’ I believe that networks can produce much more effective results if you focus on what you are looking to achieve from membership.

To make the most of networking, treat the cost as a business investment, not a club membership. Like any investment, such as a marketing campaign or new technology, it’s important to know what the return is going to be and to map out a strategy to get results.

By focussing on a financial return, you are more likely to take the steps necessary to achieve it. By extension, you are far more likely to meet, and exceed, that return.

Many people initially join networking groups with the view to just getting back their membership fee. As a result, the business they ask for tends to be quite small, and goals are unambitious.

While I was MD of BRE Networking, we introduced training based on financial targets. Groups saw a dramatic change in the business asked for, and won. As a result, one member, previously looking for business worth between £250 and £1000, began asking for contracts worth in excess of £200,000 and was able to substantially increase their goal for the year..

Businesses who join networking groups without a clear vision of what they want to achieve frequently fail to see value for their membership. Focus on a clear financial return and make networking pay.

Next time... Beyond Money


  1. Andy,

    Thanks for the response and the link to this post.

    I think some people treat business networking events as a separate entity to their business, when really – it is an extension of their business and their brand - just outside the office walls.

    Great point about treating the networking as a business in order to get the most out of an event - developing a networking plan to sit alongside marketing & business plans is a great idea. I’ve had people turn up to our events wanting to be ‘buddied’ and have their hands held – if people had this mindset in day-to-day business affairs then nothing would ever progress.

    I think what you said in your newsletter is an important point “you are networking for relationships, not sales” which many fail to recognise. When companies focus on the tangible sales that are generated, they forget that an increased profile, better market knowledge and self-development is just as important as this is what leads to the sales.

    When you've been to networking events as a delegate have you mostly focused on generating the tangible or intangible value from networking events? And which have you found more successful?


  2. Thank you for such an insightful comment Megan. I particularly like your point about people wanting to be buddied, and how that relates to day-to-day business. I think, though, we need to remember that networking takes a lot of people out of their comfort zones, and there's nothing wrong with being supportive where possible.

    I attend a number of events every month. My focus will depend on the event, I am a member of some groups to boost my profile, others to learn and exchange ideas and others again to get referrals.

    If I understand my focus and how to participate accordingly, I get results. It's not a question of which is more successful, more of knowing what I want to achieve.